Picturing the Pandemic

During our Scarecrow Trail in August we noted that Norfolk Museums Service had initiated a “Picturing the Pandemic” campaign to collect memorabilia to share the experiences of lockdown. We submitted our Scarecrow Trial as an example of what we were doing here in Eaton Village to celebrate our heroes of lockdown.  

Our Scarecrow Trail was held from 2nd to 9th August and we had 18 scarecrows around the village with the theme of “Heroes”. People were asked to build a scarecrow to celebrate their heroes who have supported our communities since mid-March. There were several scarecrows recognising the contribution of the NHS and carers but also many recognising others who had continued to work to provide essential services. We published a Trail Map of the scarecrows and residents toured the village visiting these over the week. For the past ten years we have held a scarecrow festival and competition during July in Eaton Village which has been combined with other community events. This year because of lockdown we knew we couldn’t hold our normal events but wanted to do something as things were relaxed but still maintain social distancing. Holding the Scarecrow Trail over a week meant that people could keep safe and also plan their visits over a number of days if they wished.  

The EDP recently published a story about the campaign at: https://www.edp24.co.uk/news/health/picturing-the-pandemic-coronavirus-objects-collected-by-museums-1-6847030

We have since had a response from Cathy Terry at the museums service as follows:

Thank you for getting in touch with the museum service in August in connection with our collecting campaign ‘ Picturing the Pandemic’.  As you will be aware the social history team of the museum have been involved in a summer-long initiative on local news and social media asking members of the public to share images and words about the experience during the pandemic, looking at community and business life, home life and what people wore and made. We’ve had an excellent response which we hope will build into a comprehensive picture of the way lockdown affected local people, and have heard from a tremendous variety of individuals, businesses and organisation, including numerous ‘ heroes’ who’ve gone out of their way to make life better for others during the crisis.   The information which you sent for about the Eaton Scarecrow trail is absolutely ideal for adding to this repository to be saved for the future, ticking the box for community initiatives as well as ideas of heroism during a difficult time. I particularly like the miniature bus and the midwife installations but each and every one of them has been put together with charm, imagination and flair. Please do pass on our thanks and appreciation to participants. I only wish I had seen the trail for myself.

Over the next few weeks we’ll be considering all offers of items to add to our collections and will be in touch again to send you documentation relating to your collection of images of the scarecrow trail. In the meantime you may be interested in participating in our survey on home life in lockdown, which is still running and will remain open for the next couple of weeks. It can be accessed here, and you are welcome to share the link. https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/picturingthepandemic/

Once again, very sincere thanks for contributing this wonderful record of a significant moment in time.

Cathy Terry,

Senior Curator, Social History

Strangers’ Hall Museum